A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Exposing The Lie Called "Trickle-Down"

Hanauer is right. The rich have been exceptionally well because of the lies the congressional Republicans (and presidents) have been spreading since 1980 -- that if we just de-regulate Wall Street and lower taxes on the rich, it will benefit everyone through a "trickle-down" effect. Of course it didn't work. The rich got much richer, and nothing trickled down at all. The working and middle classes are worse off than they were in the 1970's, and the poor (who must work for minimum wage) are barely surviving.

Now there is talk of letting the Bush tax cuts expire and possibly even raising taxes on the rich further. In an effort to prevent that, the Republicans are claiming this would hurt the economy (fiscal cliff?) and job creation. But what they are really scared of is that if the taxes are raised on the rich, it would be the final blow to the trickle-down economic theory -- which is the basis for their efforts to continually keep giving tax cuts to the rich, and that would bring a halt to their gravy train. Trickle-down would be exposed as a lie.

The truth is that the top tax rate has nothing to do with whether the economy is healthy or not, and also has nothing to do with job creation. You may be too young to remember the 1950's, but it was a time when this country had a booming economy and high job creation -- and a 90% top tax rate. Now I'm not saying we should raise the top tax rate that high, but it is time to raise it some (and eliminate the special 15% tax rate on investment income, which is less than middle class workers pay for income they had to actually work for).

It's time to expose the lie. It's time for the rich to pay their fair share. This country needs to let the Bush tax cuts expire for those making more than $200,000 a year ($250,000 for a married couple), tax all income at the same rate (whether it comes from work or investments), and either raise or eliminate the cap on payroll taxes (so the rich pay the same percentage as those in the working and middle classes). That would be a good start on re-establishing some tax fairness. And it would be the death knell for trickle-down.

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